Farewell, little friend

Thursday, my little cat Koshka died.  This was both expected and not – she was an adult cat when I adopted her 17 years ago, so she was very old.  But she went from doing fine (stalking birds in the garden and getting flower petals stuck between her toes), to being terminally ill in the space of just a couple of days.  It was sudden enough that I was laying in long-term supplies of cat litter at Sam’s on Tuesday.

Coincidentally, we’d planned a weekend away with friends this last weekend.  Being out of the house helped a bit, although it’s astonishing how many things reminded me of her even at the beach, which she would have hated.  Cat’s don’t do sun, sand, and surf… We very much appreciate how much patience and support we got from

,

, and

over the weekend and we apologize if we put a damper on your fun vacation.

Back home, we’re both having a terrible time because every space and every activity reminds us of her.  Koshka felt a need to be an active part of everything that was going on. She made certain to be nearby when we woke, so she could have a morning cuddle. While we showered, she’d get a drink from the puddle where the shower door leaks. When we got dressed, she was there investigating the clothes and shoes.  She accompanied K every morning to pick up the paper, which made a good opportunity to inspect her yard.  Making the bed was a joyous game that involved bounding into the caves created by billowing sheets or blankets. Mealtime was interesting – she was inclined to to stick her nose into any plate or glass I prepared even though she wasn’t actually interested in the food.  When I settled in to work, she felt it necessary to insert herself between me and my keyboard or to curl up next to me for her morning nap.  Working out was always fascinating to her, although she quickly learned not to step onto the treadmill while it was running.  If we were reading, she’d come rub her cheek against the corner of the book; she also liked pens as scratching tools.  She made certain to tuck us into bed at night – a process which involved standing atop my supine body and sticking her whiskers in my fact for a few moments, then repeating the process with K.  And then she was on-duty to keep K company for those insomniac nights.  A closed door was an offense so we got used to company while in the bathroom and we even learned to beware where we kicked during sex, because she was probably nearby.

Every household chore reminds us of her.  For laundry, of course she’d “help” you fold the clothes.  Gardening, I had to be careful doing things like digging or pruning, because a carelessly tossed branch or shovelful of dirt could bonk my little supervisor in the head.  She hated the vacuum so she felt compelled to watch it closely when it was out.  She liked to watch me cook, so now I have an instinct to look before stepping backwards from a kitchen counter.  Taking out the trash involved three trips back and forth for us (trashbin, recycling bin, paper bundles for recycling) and about fifty trips of mad racing back and forth for her. 

We used to have to sneak out of the house to go for walks, because if she was outside and saw us setting off, she’d follow.  So we’d be walking along and hear a little “jingle-jingle” of her collar tags, and glance back to see her trotting along behind us.  She’d give us a friendly meow, as if to say “Don’t mind me, boss, I’m keeping up just fine”.  As we got further from her home turf her comments would get anxious: “Hey, don’t you think we should go back now?  It’s awfully far from home” and she’d start doing flanking maneuvers in a sheepdog-like effort to get us turned back toward home.  Eventually we’d hit her limit and she’d sit in the sidewalk and call plaintively until we gave up, turned back and walked her back home. 

Even when we were away from home she was on our minds – because any trip planning involved making sure she would be taken care of, and while we were gone we’d notice her absence during the daily rituals of living.  On the way home, inevitably either K or I would look at the other and imitate what we thought she’d say when we arrived.  By the time we’d pulled into the driveway we were primed to rush inside and greet her before dealing with anything else. 

I don’t think I even realized how involved she was in everything I did until I tried to live my life without her.  She will be sorely missed.

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